Army Veteran Accuses Dharmendra Pradhan Of Abusing Him, Using Cuss Words

An army veteran, who had served in a senior rank in NSDC under the Ministry of Skills Development, has brought serious charges of corruption and nepotism against Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

The official alleged that he was forced to step down from his position after he incurred the minister’s wrath for exposing several wrongdoings in the department over affiliation and accreditation.

The official talked particularly about alleged irregularities in the ministry’s Udaan and SMART schemes. While Udaan aims to provide skills training and enhance youth’s employability in Jammu and Kashmir, the SMART mission provides accreditation, affiliation and continuous monitoring of training centres through a single window IT application process. The Udaan scheme covers graduates, postgraduates, and three-year engineering diploma holders.

“The minister had not been comfortable with my continuation in the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) since, during a meeting, mine was the lone voice that countered one of his proposals on accreditation and affiliation based on the self-certification of training centres,” he alleged.

Pradhan holds the dual charge of the Skill Development Ministry along with the Petroleum portfolio.

In a no-holds-barred attack against the minister in a LinkedIn post, Ajay Kumar gave a detailed account of an event that unfolded at the Constitution Club in New Delhi in July 2018, where he had to pay his price for speaking out. He alleged that Pradhan used “cuss words” to pin him down in full public glare at the event and ordered his sacking.

Ajay’s accusations were published in news portal The Print on Tuesday.

“A spat with Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, cabinet minister, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), at a public event at the Constitution Club of India (unintended irony), over facilitating accreditation and affiliation to one of his known persons (or party affiliate, I am not sure) in contravention to his own guidelines issued by the MSDE, changed it all.

“When I told him why his verbal orders were not doable given the guidelines, he lost his cool and started abusing me and using cuss words. Initially, I was amused at his spontaneous disparaging outpouring, but his outburst continued in full public view,” the veteran said.

“My initial silence probably gave him the feeling that he, with his brute political power, could ride roughshod over me. He was mistaken. So were other senior functionaries, including Mr Rajesh Agarwal, joint secretary, MSDE, and Mr Manish Kumar, MD, NSDC.

“They probably forgot my Army background and the fact that, we, in the armed forces, take our self-respect, pride and dignity quite seriously.

“I curtly told the minister to watch his words as I had just followed the guidelines. Not anticipating such defiance to his perceived authority, he exploded in uncontrollable hysteria and ordered my immediate sacking while continuing to use cuss words.

“He directed the NSDC MD to brief him with complete details the next morning (it was late in the night at the time). I was in an unwished-for situation. All the glares, including those of the guests, waiters, and my own team, at me, as if I was being ripped apart.

“The 10-minute ordeal was like endless torture. I was standing perplexed for a few moments as if stripped naked in full public view. The indignation was too much for me, especially due to the silence of my two seniors.”

According to Ajai, the turn of events was premeditated as Pradhan was not comfortable with him continuing in the ministry. The entire episode was to run him down.

Ajai stepped down from the ministry in July 2018.


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